Diagnostic Exam

Here’s a diagnostic essay you can assign as homework.*  It can help you identify weak writers right away so that they can receive assistance from the Writing Center as soon as possible. The essay can also reveal how prepared your students are to tackle the subject matter of your course.

If you decide to assign this essay, you do not have to mark or grade it since your purpose is purely diagnostic. Just read each essay, set aside any essays with serious writing problems, and then credit and file the rest. When the Writing Center opens, ask the weak writers to take their essays and a referral form to the Center.   When the students return with a revised essay that has been approved by a tutor, you can give them homework credit.If you have any questions, feel free to contact Dr. Redd by e-mail ( or phone (6-0870). Thanks for your support of the Writing Across the Curriculum program! 

*If you can, allocate a 50-minute class period to diagnostic testing instead of assigning the test as homework.  You may gain a better sense of what your students can do without assistance.


TOPIC: For homework credit, write a 250-word essay (ONE typed page) in response to the following question:    What do you know about the subject matter of this course?

AUDIENCE: your professor

FORMAT: Please type your essay on one side of an 8 1/2" x 11" sheet of paper. In the top right-hand corner, write your name, the title of your course, "WAC Diagnostic Essay," and the date.

DUE DATE: Submit the essay to your professor at your next class meeting.

EVALUATION: Your professor will evaluate the essay's content, organization, and style (including grammar and spelling).


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